You Can Do It! Just Literally Go Out And Plan A Rally


You might be just dipping your toe into activism but there’s no right way to be an activist. If you want to plan a rally, you can. And here’s how!

When my friend Olga and I first decided to plan a rally for President’s Day, we had no idea what we were doing. I think in general, we as women, think we aren’t qualified to do something new or that someone with more experience should take charge. But these days, if you have an idea–just do it! I wrote a piece on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls to encourage women and girls to just jump into planning a rally (or whatever their idea is).  But I wanted to share details and practical steps we took when planning our rally, which began as a singular idea and ended up becoming a multi-city day of protest.

Step One: Have an Idea

When Olga (my co-organizer) and I returned from our respective Women’s Marches on January 21, 2017, we weren’t ready to let the energy die down yet. It would’ve been easy to sit back and keep attending rallies as they popped up. In Los Angeles, there’s a rally or march a couple times a week. We are pros. And to clarify, I’m using “pro” in the sense that we are getting really good at protesting and not that we are actual “professional” protesters who get paid. I wish we got paid! Anyway, we didn’t need to plan our own rally, but Olga had the idea (and a catchy title — Not My President’s Day!) and I had the wherewithal to offer to help. And that’s how the journey began.

Step Two: Don’t Let Doubt Stop You

Okay, so you have this great idea for a rally or march or [insert idea here]. And you decide to make it happen. Then you begin to doubt whether or not you’re the right person for the job. Stop that! You had the idea and you are the best person to carry it out. So find some friends and a group that’s ready to support your idea. These people will be instrumental. Now you’re ready to get started!

Step Three: Do Your Research Then Take Action

Olga and I had attended enough rallies to know the basics for what we needed. Namely, a location and probably some sort of permit. Oh yeah, and people to rally with us! So we made a Facebook event with very basic details.

Name: Not My President’s Day Rally

Date: February 20th

Location: City Hall Los Angeles

We invited all of our friends and a few days later the number of attendees was growing exponentially. So we researched what kind of permit we needed for City Hall.  It turns out it’s a single sheet of paper, which I filled out in 10 minutes. We contacted the LAPD (who already knew about our Facebook event!). And then, we started promoting!

Step Four: Watch It Grow!

In order to limit trolling on our personal pages, we started a Facebook Page called Not My President’s Day, and made the page the host of the event. We began receiving requests from people on the page for rallies in other cities. Once we had a demand for people in New York City, we set up an event page and began recruiting volunteers for the event. We put them all together in a group facebook message and they took it from there. Throughout this whole process, I’ve been so inspired by the women who helped plan rallies — especially our counterparts in New York City and Chicago.

Step Five: Logistics

In Los Angeles, we wanted the rally to be led by the attendees’ concerns about Trump, so we didn’t schedule any political speakers. Instead, we allowed anyone to speak when they wanted to. We spoke to various activist groups in Los Angeles to see if they wanted to be involved and also to get advice on planning. Again, all of this was through Facebook. The New York City and Chicago rallies had speakers and agendas for their rallies. They reached out to those who they wanted to speak and coordinated with them. But really, each rally was tailored to the city and allowed for each group of organizers to decide what they wanted. Honestly, if you’re planning a rally it can be as structured as you want!

Step Six: Teamwork aka #BetterTogether

The only reason any of the rallies were successful was because of teamwork. The groups in each city worked together to plan what was important to them and their cities when it came to their rallies. Having a team who is passionate, was the most important part of rally planning. It can feel overwhelming and so knowing you have people to back you up is important.

In the end…

Even my mother told me that she would’ve never expected me to be the one to plan a rally, but instead of allowing the fear of failure to prevent me from stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided to take a chance. And it was totally worth it. I met amazing people that I would’ve never known before and was able to feel like I was making a difference. And those are the two best rewards.

Related Story: Thousands to Flood the Streets at the Not My President Protests Today

Now that you know how easy it is, are you ready to plan your own rally? Oh, and don’t forget to have fun!